Money Management Articles


Finding ways to cut your phone budget - 7/1/2015
When looking for ways to save, consider rethinking your phone bills. The Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) offers this advice on how to become a savvy consumer when it comes to budgeting your phone service.

Being financially prepared for college - 7/1/2015
Many parents consider sending a child to college an important financial objective. The College Board reports for a public in-state four-year college, the average tuition for 2014-15 was $9,139. If room and board was included, the average annual education cost was $18,942.

Don't fight over finances! - 6/11/2015
When couples argue, what are they most likely to fight about? You might not be surprised to learn that, according to a Harris Interactive survey on behalf of the American Institute of CPAs, money is the top reason for a marital spat, one that causes disagreements far more frequently than other critical issues.

Get out of debt (and stay out) - 6/11/2015
On average, American households have about $15,000 of credit card debt, according to NerdWallet. If you're struggling to pay off your outstanding balances, or if you're tired of high interest costs, the Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) explains the best ways to get out from under those bills.

Who's teaching your kids about money? - 5/31/2015
If you think your children aren't learning about money because you're not teaching it, think again. While savvy marketers are telling our kindergartners that they need a certain toy to be happy, credit card companies are peddling instant gratification to our teens.

5 tips to quickly pay off student loan debt - 5/14/2015
Struggling with student loans? You're not alone.

Fraud prevention for seniors - 5/14/2015
While seniors make up 11 percent of the population, they represent 30 percent of consumer fraud and 50 percent of telephone fraud. The Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) offers the following fraud prevention tips for seniors.

Don't let unexpected costs ruin your retirement! - 4/30/2015
How much do you need to save for retirement? Determining how much you'll spend on housing, food and other fixed expenses may seem relatively easy, but how about the costs that come out of the blue?

Resolving financial concerns for stepfamilies - 4/15/2015
Roughly 1,300 new stepfamilies are created every day, according to the Stepfamily Foundation.  And, 41 percent of all Americans have at least one step relative, based on Pew Research Center findings.

IRA early withdrawal exceptions - 4/15/2015
Choosing an early withdrawal from your IRA can be a costly move, often resulting in unfavorable consequences such as tax penalties and loss of future growth.

Planning for retirement has many taxing issues - 3/15/2015
Individuals today have much greater responsibility in funding their retirement plans -- a responsibility that can become overwhelming as the life expectancy continues to climb.

10 ways to maximize Social Security benefits - 3/15/2015
For most Americans, Social Security retirement benefits typically represent 30 to 60 percent of their retirement income and, yet, according to the National Social Security Association,,LLC, more than 90 percent of Social Security recipients receive less money than to which they are entitled.

Answers to tax questions for the self-employed - 3/2/2015
Will 2015 be the year when you take the leap into self-employment? Even if you're going to start out small with an office in a spare bedroom, there are some important tax issues you should keep in mind before you take the plunge.

Tax solutions for baby boomers - 3/2/2015
The baby boom generation, the children born in the post-World War II years between 1946 and 1964, includes about 76 million people. Now that generation is heading into retirement, with roughly 10,000 boomers expected to retire every day between now and 2030.

Four last-minute tips to lower your taxes - 1/15/2015
Now that the New Year has begun, April 15 will be here before you know it. Have you done all you can to minimize your tax payments and maximize prudent financial planning? If you're not sure, there's still time to make some smart choices before you file this year's tax return.

5 financial mistakes to avoid this year - 1/15/2015
Are you satisfied with the financial decisions you made in 2014? If you're not so sure, this is a good time to resolve to make some changes in 2015.

Beware before you buy: 6 considerations for kids' cell phones - 1/7/2015
Have your kids started asking for cell phones or mobile devices of their own? Usage of mobile devices is growing among the younger set. In fact, 45 percent of parents say they have already purchased or plan to purchase mobile devices for their kids.

How to give wisely during the holidays and beyond - 12/15/2014
Have the holidays made you feel more generous? Nonprofit organizations report receiving 41 percent of their donations between Thanksgiving and New Year's each year, according to Charity Navigator, and their overall charitable contributions are significant.

What you should know about timeshares - 12/15/2014
Now that the holidays are upon us, many people dream of taking a tropical vacation or spending time near a popular attraction. If you're shopping for a getaway, you may have considered a timeshare, an arrangement that generally gives you the right to stay at a certain property for a specified amount of time each year.

Low or no-cost gift ideas - 11/30/2014
With costs expected to rise this year, the MNCPA is offering shoppers some tips for saving money on gifts while still making the holidays memorable.

College and taxes: MNCPA outlines the importance of determining who takes the dependency deduction -- parent or student? - 11/2/2014
If you or a member of your household is a college student or returned to school for additional training in the past year, there are important tax considerations to discuss with your CPA as you organize your state and federal income tax return information for 2014, advises the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA).

Are you ready for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and new credit cards with chips? - 11/2/2014
If you are like many holiday shoppers, Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be when you buy your gifts. According to the National Retail Federation, U.S. Black Friday retail sales for 2013 totaled $57 billion, down from $59 billion in 2012. For 2013, this averaged to $407 per person in spending.

How to handle an unexpected job loss - 9/30/2014
Nowadays, when it comes to longevity within the workplace, nothing is guaranteed. How do you prepare if faced with an unexpected job loss? What is your plan B? Consider these five tips for preparing and coping with your financial loss.

Don't make these common IRA mistakes! - 9/15/2014
About 40 percent of U.S. households -- nearly 50 million -- own individual retirement accounts, which provide tax-advantaged options for saving for your retirement years. The Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) offers the following tips on how to avoid some common mistakes people make when managing IRAs.

Five disaster planning steps for small businesses - 9/15/2014
Could your business bounce back if a disaster occurred? A minimum of 25 percent of small to midsize businesses that close temporarily due to a natural or other disaster ultimately never open their doors again, according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety. It is possible to weather any type of business interruption, however, only if you're properly prepared.

Year-end tax planning for 2014 - 9/3/2014
Where has the time gone? We are approaching the final months of 2014, but, before you start thinking about holiday shopping, consider year-end tax planning and preparation. With proper tax planning, you can maximize your potential tax savings and minimize your tax liability.

Medical coverage while traveling overseas - 9/3/2014
While the summer vacation season has passed, thousands of people travel overseas each day for business, school or pleasure. However, few consider that their medical insurance coverage might be less than expected or, even worse, nonexistent.

Financing a return to college - 8/17/2014
You’ve advanced on the job, but you think that finishing or enhancing your college degree would help you go further.

Financial fitness advice for freshmen - 8/17/2014
As you get ready to go away to college for the first time, this is a good time to expand your knowledge of day-to-day money management, including smart budgeting and debt management steps.

9 ways to trim your back-to-school budget - 8/7/2014
The National Retail Federation predicts combined spending for back to school and college is expected to reach $74.9 billion, or $669.28 per family on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics, an increase of 5 percent from last year.

Your midyear financial tune up - 6/30/2014
Did you start the beginning of the year by making smart resolutions to get your finances in order? Now that the year is half over, it's a good time to check in and see how you're doing.

Tips for starting a small business - 6/30/2014
The 23 million small businesses in this country are responsible for 54 percent of all U.S. sales, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Do you ever dream of launching your own company? If you do, the Minnesota Society of CPAs offers this advice to help you get off on the right foot.

Save money on your vacation - 6/1/2014
Are you planning to take a family vacation this summer? If so, it could become a pricey proposition.

Five ways to save on moving costs - 5/1/2014
About 36 million people, or 11.7 percent of Americans, moved between 2012 and 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. If you're in the process of moving, you're probably juggling a lot of tasks, including worrying about the potentially high costs.

Keeping a lid on wedding costs - 5/1/2014
Can you have a memorable wedding day without breaking the bank? Absolutely. Even though the average wedding costs nearly $30,000, according to, many happy couples have joyous celebrations for far less money.

Five ways to set yourself up for a secure retirement - 4/16/2014
Approximately 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 every day until around 2030. If you're part of that group, or if you're planning ahead for a comfortable retirement, the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) offers this advice for securing your financial future.

Most common tax mistakes, overlooked tax opportunities - 4/16/2014
Each year, according to the IRS, millions of taxpayers make mathematical errors on their individual tax returns and miss opportunities to take deductions.

Putting miscellaneous deductions to work - 3/31/2014
Now that you're just about ready to file your tax return, are you sure you claimed all the deductions that you're due? Most Americans know that they can deduct items such as charitable donations, mortgage interest and property taxes.

Minnesota's new gift tax sparks questions for taxpayers - 3/17/2014
As part of a campaign to educate taxpayers on confusing, challenging and emerging tax issues, the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) offers filers important reminders and considerations related to Minnesota's new state gift tax.

Five tax tips for the unemployed - 3/17/2014
If you find yourself out of work, taxes may be the last thing you want to think about; but it's important to continue your tax and other financial planning, even when you're unemployed.

Do's and don'ts for paying your tax bill - 3/3/2014
About three-quarters of individual taxpayers received refunds last year, according to Internal Revenue Service statistics. However, many people find that they do owe taxes when April 15 comes around. If you fall into that group, the Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) offers these recommendations on the best way to settle your bill.

MNCPA issues list of strange and unusual tax deductions - 2/17/2014
The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) recently conducted its annual CPA member survey about the most strange and unusual tax deductions proposed by clients. Responses included everything from pets and wedding rings to gifts not given.

What you should know about taxes and Social Security benefits - 2/3/2014
Will your tax bill this year include taxes on your Social Security benefits? About 55 million people receive monthly Social Security payments and some of them pay taxes on up to 85 percent of those benefits, depending on their financial situation.

Five steps to achieving your financial goals - 1/14/2014
What do you want to do now, or next year, or five or 10 years down the road? This is the time of year when people step back and consider where they stand and how close they are to achieving long-held goals. No matter what your objectives, there's no doubt that a sound financial plan will put you in a better position to achieve them, according to the Minnesota Society of CPAs.

2013 tax changes that may surprise taxpayers - 1/5/2014
With significant changes made to the federal and Minnesota tax rules in 2013, the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) would like to remind taxpayers of the importance of tax planning and understanding how the new rules affect their respective tax situations.

College students home for the holidays? Discuss practical tax decisions - 1/5/2014
The winter holiday break provides a great opportunity for parents and college students to decide who claims whom on their 2013 federal and state tax returns. Surprisingly, it's not just limited to minor children.

Retirement road blocks for baby boomers - 12/15/2013
From now until 2030, about 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 every day, according to the Pew Research Center. This large generation, born between 1946 and 1964, has had a huge impact on American culture and society, and that remains the same as they head into retirement.

'Tis the season for charitable contributions - 12/1/2013
Along with an avalanche of catalogues and holiday greetings from family and friends, you may also find your mailbox inundated with donation requests from charitable organizations.

How can you cut next year's taxes? - 12/1/2013
Taxes may be the last thing you want to think about at the holidays, but the end of the year is a great time to take some smart steps that can help you minimize your future tax outlays. The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) provides these ideas for keeping more money in your pocket.

Five questions to ask your CPA before the end of the year - 11/14/2013
Your to-do list is probably pretty full at this time of year. While the thought of adding one more task may feel overwhelming, it's one that can help put your mind at ease this New Year's Eve: Talk to your CPA.

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